the poignant symbol of Christmas 2020

When I went to New Zealand, the first place we visited was Christchurch.
It’s a wonderfully friendly city with heaps to see and do.
However, the part which stayed with me, more than the food *which is usually the highlight of any trip* was the memorial to the people who died in the 2011 earthquake.
185 empty chairs were displayed to represent each person who lost their lives in the earthquake.
I was really moved by this touching display of empathy to a city which lost so much!
Chairs have always had special significance in art and literature – from Van Gogh to Les Miserables.
I might even go so far as to say they could be a symbol of Christmas in 2020.
This Christmas will be especially poignant for people all over the world.
The unimaginable grief and loss is impossible to describe or comprehend.
I’m training to be a psychotherapist, and I have a special interest in loss and bereavement.
We’re all experiencing a sense of loss.
For many it is the loss of family and friends.
for others it’s the loss of jobs, homes and businesses.
Other people will be feeling an immense loss of control at having our plans curtailed at the last moment which for many will be incredibly difficult to deal with.
Compassion and empathy are especially important, for ourselves and to those around us.
Some of us will be able to see our family and friends over Christmas, and it’s OK to make it a time for celebrating and making special memories.
Many people will be facing Christmas alone – or without their parents, siblings, spouses or friends
That’s why, on Christmas day, I’ll be spending a moment to remember empty chairs.
We’ll put an empty chair at our table to remember everyone going through grief and loss.
To everyone reading this – I wish you a peaceful and compassionate Christmas.